My wife and I are both atheists. We would prefer both our children and grandchildren to also be atheists, and not be twisted and convoluted by religion. But you can't force your children to not believe, anymore than they should have belief forced upon them. It should always be an individual's choice.
One of the things I find disgusting about organized religion is that followers aren't given a choice. I'm not going to be the same way with my children. I'm not going to force them to think the way I want them to think. Not only would that be hypocritical of me, it would probably be counterproductive.
I remember what it was like to be young. Okay, it was a while ago, but I do remember the last thing I wanted was to be told what to do, how to act, or what to think.
My mother made sure I was introduced to the art of belief, but she let me make my own decision as to what to do with it. Aside from the things I don't appreciate my mother for, I do appreciate her for that.
My children know their parents don't believe. All we can do is hope that our opinions carry enough weight that they will take them into consideration when they make their own choices. Children are going to do what children will do, especially once they're out from under your care and influence. You have to let them grow and see how they turn out. Dare I say it, "You have to have faith!"
our son, when very young, told us he wanted to believe in god and go to church with his grandma. This lasted for about three weeks. He never brought it up again and is now, at 23, a total atheist.
Doug- if given a chance, and left to happen naturally, somethings will simply work themselves out. It's tough to try to count on, but it's better than forcing the issue. Well done.
I failed to mention that he did indeed go with his granny, I guess church services had the same effect on him as it did on me.